Mah Jong Objectives of the Game
A player generally tries to collect sets of tiles. The 3 basic sets are as follows:
- a set of 3 identical tiles e.g. 3 x Red Dragons, 3 x Two circles.
- a set of 4 identical tiles. e.g. 4 x Eight of Bamboos or 4 x North Winds.
- a run of 3 tiles in the same suit. A Chow does not score and so is only helpful because it can contribute to a hand that allows a player to call Mah Jong.
The primary aim of the game is to collect such tiles that allow a player to call "Mah Jong" and go out. In order to do this, a player must achieve one of the following:
- A pair, and 4 Pungs, Kongs or Chows
- A special hand
However, the overall aim of the game is to amass a greater score than one's opponents and it should be remembered that it is possible to do this over a series of rounds without ever calling Mah Jong.
The first turn, is made by East who discards one tile by placing it face-up inside the remainder of the wall. Each subsequent turn is made by a player taking a tile, optionally playing a tile combination and then discarding a tile. However, which player takes the turn and from where the tile is taken, varies.
After each discard, any player who has 2 or 3 tiles that match the discarded
tile may take the next turn by calling Mah Jong, Pung or Kong. Such a player,
takes the discard and plays the resulting Pung or Kong on the table in front
of him or, in the case of Mah Jong, takes the discard and declares all tiles
in hand, thus finishing the game.
If no player calls Mah Jong, Pung or Kong, then the player to the right of the player who just discarded takes the next turn. This player may, if he has 2 tiles that can be matched with the discarded tile to form a Chow, call a Chow. The player must then take the discard and play the resulting Chow.
If a Mah Jong, Pung, Kong or a Chow has not been called, then the next player in an anti-clockwise direction simply takes a tile from the open end of the wall. If possible and desired, he can then declare a make a Pung, Kong or Chow by laying the combination face down in front of him.
The player always finishes a turn by discarding one tile, placing it face-up inside the remainder of the wall.
Whenever a Kong is declared, the player must lay all the tiles forming the
Kong on the table and immediately take a tile from the Kong Box.
A declared Pung can can be converted into a Kong but only using a tile taken from the wall. A Kong can only be made using a discarded tile, if the other three tiles are in hand (concealed).
Tiles that have been discarded, unless they are picked up in the following turn, are dead tiles and take no further part in the game.
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